By Sigrid Olson

Livestock Identification 101

Brand Inspections


Sigrid Olson, Pathfinder

Here is an example of a lip tattoo on a horse. Lip tattooing is another way of identifying livestock.

Livestock owners need to have current brand inspections or permits accompanying livestock. Brand inspections include lifetime and annual inspections, transfers of ownership, change of pasture, travel permits, market permits, slaughter and hide inspections. Each specific inspection is good for a certain number of days.

Permits and inspections are written by Montana Department of Livestock (MTDOL) Brand Inspectors after inspecting the owner's paperwork and livestock. There are 12 brand inspectors in Missoula County. Livestock includes sheep, all equine, cattle and bison according to MTDOL.


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